At the beginning of the 20th century, when 12-string guitars first appeared in the United States, the instruments were considered novelty items, curiosities, freaks of guitar making that were beneath the dignity of serious companies like Martin and Gibson. But when Blind Willie McTell picked up a Stella 12-string in 1927, and then basically never put it down, the instrument was suddenly legitimized.

A folk singer named Huddie Ledbetter, better known as Lead Belly, had actually made the Stella 12-string his own earlier, in 1912, but Lead Belly had so many scrapes with the law and spent so much time in prison that he wouldn’t get a chance to popularize the ringing tones of the 12-string until the 1930s and ’40s. Even then, his biggest hit, “Good Night Irene,” came after his death in 1949.

Pete Seeger and the Weavers kept the 12-string sound alive until the 1960s, when groups like the Rooftop Singers (“Walk Right In”) made it the go-to instrument on the commercial folk scene. Gibson was ready with its B-45 in 1961 and its B-25 in 1962, while Martin got on board a bit later with its D12-20 in 1964 and D12-35 in 1965.

The loudest noise in 12-strings, though, was made by Rickenbacker, thanks to a custom, one-of-a-kind 12-string version of its 325 hollowbody electric guitar made in 1964 for John Lennon of the Beatles. George Harrison also became a Rickenbacker acolyte, playing his Rickenbacker 360 12-string on songs like "A Hard Day’s Night."

One musician who liked that sound a lot was Roger McGuinn of the Byrds. Reportedly, he bought a 360-12 after seeing the movie named after of the famous Beatles song. He went on to play a 12-string on one of the Byrds’ biggest hits, “Turn Turn Turn.”

By the late 1970s, newer companies like Taylor made acoustic 12-strings part of their lines. Once again, a key musician would cement the instrument's sound in our collective soundtrack. In this case it was Neil Young who, while vacationing in Florida, purchased a Taylor 12-string, an 855, at a local music shop. Young liked his 855 so much he ordered a second, and Taylor subsequently gained widespread recognition when Young’s 855 figured prominently in his concert film, "Rust Never Sleeps."


Best of the Web (“Hall of Fame”)

Vintage Guitars Info

Vintage Guitars Info

This great reference site features detailed sections for vintage guitar makers including Gibson, Fender, Martin, Gr… [read review or visit site]

Vintage Guitar and Bass

Vintage Guitar and Bass

Want to see all the old brochures and ads for your favorite vintage axe? Check out this great site, which showcases… [read review or visit site]



Clubs & Associations

Other Great Reference Sites

Most watched eBay auctions    

335 12 String Electric Guitar Natural Quilted Maple Finish 1975 Ovation Deacon 12 String Electric, Extremely Rare Guitar! Vintage 1969 Gibson B-25-12n Acoustic Guitar, G'dcond. Ocbc, Baby Boomer! Ibanez Artcore Af95-vls-12-03 Hollow Body Electric Guitar Great Playing New Sunburst 12 String Jazzmaster Style Electric GuitarWarmoth Birdseye Telecaster Neck W/ Schallers 12" Radius 6150 FretsFender Tweed Blues Deluxe 1 X 12 1994 Original Usa Not A Reissue!no Reserve!!!!!Tacoma 12 String Acoustic GuitarAlverez 5054 12 Cord/string Guitar Lightly Used,missing Cord1977 Martin D12-28 **vintage**Ibanez Artcore As73-tcr-12-01 6 String Electric Guitar With CaseVintage Martin Acoustic Guitar D12-35Gipson 12 String With Original Case 1967 Model #b 45 12Parker Pj12 J Man Sunburst- Jazz Archtop Italia Rimini -12 Electric GuitarMartin Dm12 - 12 String Mahogany Acoustic Guitar (made In Us) With Original CaseBeautiful New Natural Double Neck 12 & 6 String Electric Guitar And CaseVintage 1966 Electric Xii Style (12) Twelve String Electric Guitar Diy KitPrs Se Angelus Standard 6 String Elcetric Acoustic Guitar Made In Korea 12/20/12Vintage Stella 12 String Acoustic Guitar2003 Ibanez Artcore As73-tcr-12-01 Electric Guitar Transparent CherryCandy Apple Red Double Neck 12 & 6 String Electric Guitar And CaseNew Blue 12 String Thinline Tele Style Semi Hollow Chambered Electric GuitarOvation 12 String Glen Campbell Model, Comes With The Original Ovation CaseVintage 1965-1968 Hagstrom Viking 12-string Guitar Parts Lot Old Original Nr1978 Ovation Glen Campbell 12 String Model 1118-4 In Original CaseB Stock 12 String Strat Unfinished Electric Guitar Project Kit 2Genuine Washburn Wd12s Acoustic Guitar With Case. Beautiful New Great Playing 12 String Tele Style Electric GuitarCharvel Jt-590 Schaller Made In Germany Tremolo Guitar Bridge Floyd Rose #12Seymour Duncan Antiquity Pickup '57 Fender P Bass Raised "a" Pole 11044-12Diy 12 String Strat Electric Guitar Luthier Builder Kit-solid Wood Neck & Body-1965 Rickenbacker 360 12 String1964 Gibson B45-12 String Guitar- Same Model Played By Gordon Lightfoot *vintageRare Manuel J. Silva Romantic Era? Twelve String Guitar..historical PieceVintage Kay Kd 28-12 Acoustic Guitar 12 String Guitar + Case Made In KoreaDanelectro 12 String Dano Electric Guitar NiceRickenbacker 360/12v64 Fireglo 12-string GuitarWashburn Oh42se 12 String Acoustic Guitar 114453 JmLot Of 12,patch Cords With Case"l@@k" 2-"new" Taylor Guitars W/expressions Systems 150e12 String 110e6 StringKrank Rev Jr. Pro 1x12'' CabChapman Stick Sg12 (stick Guitar)Rickenbacker 330/12 Fireglo Electric Guitar With Ohsc - Beautiful!!!!Martin D12-20 Acoustic Guitar With Martin Hard CaseNew 12 String Thinline Tele Style Semi Hollow Chambered Finished Electric GuitarWeber Pre Rola G12-m'sNo Reserve Usa Guild D4-12 Early 90's Model 12 String With Hardshell Beautiful & Rare Mij Takamine Ef389 12 String El-acoustic!! MahogonyJoyo Jf-12 Voodoo Octave: Fuzz/octave Pedal With Distortion And Octave EffectsYamaha 12 String Acoustic Electric GuitarVintage 1981 Ovation Celebrity 12 String Acouistic Electric Guitar Good Player Cp-05 Guitar Effect Pedal Power Supply 10 Isolated Output 9v 12v 18v Ac Adapter Barraza Bzbs101e 12 String Acoustic Guitar Electric 117119 MoOvation Cc245 Acoustic Electric 12 StringEpiphone Dr-212 Acoustic Guitar 12 String "near Mint"Kingston Kawai 12-string Project GuitarMad Professor Golden Cello Overdrive/delay & Effects Pedal With Original BoxDo It Yourself 12 String Electric Tele Guitar-solid Empress Body & Maple NeckYamaha Ec-12 - 6 String Acoustic Guitar

Recent News: 12 String Guitars

Source: Google News

7 Scary Things To Do This Weekend In Kansas City
KCUR, October 23rd

Whether playing blues, folk, rock, jazz, bluegrass or classical tunes, Kotke's uncanny mastery of both the six-string and 12-string guitar has sent shivers down spines since he emerged as a finger-picking force of nature in the early 1970s. In other...Read more

Daily Calendar
Port Huron Times Herald, October 22nd

Featuring Neil Jacobs World 12-string guitar. St. Clair County Community College Fine Arts Theatre, 323 Erie St., Port Huron. (810) 989-5709. Free. Second performance: 7 p.m.. Golden Agers, 2 p.m. With entertainment by The Angel Quartet. Salvation Army ...Read more

Stairway to Heaven: the story of a song and its legacy (and hear an unreleased ...
The Guardian, October 22nd

Led Zeppelin's Stairway to Heaven continues to prop up best-ever lists. But what made it great? Jimmy Page and some of the song's admirers explain its magic. Jimmy Page Led Zeppelin. Jimmy Page … and the double-necked guitar he used to play Stairway ...Read more

Leo Kottke Shows Off Guitar Playing and Storytelling Abilities
Cleveland Scene Weekly, October 20th

Mid-show, he switched to 12-string guitar, which provided an even better showcase for his guitar playing ability as he played it both with and without a slide. “Gewerbegebiet,” a song he introduced by saying “the Germans did for the consonant what the ...Read more

Sundance County Line joins Music Hall of Fame
North Platte Bulletin, October 19th

Sundance County Line was started quite by accident, band members say. The first band entertained at a community party in Mullen in 1977 with Lisa Mandeville (age 15) on 12-string guitar, Rob Mandeville (11) on drums and Judy (the mom) on bass guitar...Read more

Judy Block with 'Sundance County Line' inducted into Nebraska Country Music ...
Gothenburg Times, October 17th

Judy said the Mullen High School home economics department had a community party. She played the bass guitar. Others in the band were her two children—Lisa Mandeville on 12-string guitar and Rob Mandeville on drums—and a high school senior who ...Read more

SC4 free concerts to feature 12-string guitar player
Port Huron Times Herald, October 11th

St. Clair County Community College's Thursday Noon and Night Concert Series will continue Oct. 23 with 12-string guitar player Neil Jacobs. The concert will be at both noon and 7 p.m. in the Fine Arts Theatre on the college's Port Huron campus. Jacobs ...Read more

Rockler Adds 12-String and Bass Electric Guitar Kits - High-quality Kits are ...
Virtual-Strategy Magazine (press release), September 24th

Rockler Woodworking and Hardware has introduced Electric 12-string and Bass Guitar Kits - the latest members in a family of musical instrument kits that includes six-string acoustic and electric guitars, mandolin, and violin kits. Once completed, the...Read more